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3BCAR: Six new projects to innovate in biosourced chemistry

In 2019, six projects will be funded in-house and managed by members of Carnot 3BCAR. As real springboards for innovation, these projects with considerable industrial potential will provide support for research and offer companies new solutions in the fields of bioenergies and biosourced molecules and materials.

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Updated on 03/28/2019
Published on 01/25/2019

The objective of projects funded in-house is to propose innovative solutions for industrial actors whose results can be exploited by industry. The projects selected to start in 2019 will offer end-users important innovations in three of the principal areas covered by the Carnot 3BCAR Institute:  bioenergies and biosourced molecules and materials.

Valorising the by-products of oilseed production for green chemistry and crop protection – the BIOPHEOL project: 24 months

Approximately 7 million tonnes of oilseeds (rapeseed, sunflower and linseed) are produced each year in France.  They are mainly used for the production of oil which generates numerous by-products: oilseed meals, straw, etc. In the context of the growth of biorefineries, the BIOPHEOL project aims to validate proof of concept for the ecologically responsible exploitation of the whole plant, with a view to ensuring the economic viability of this sector.

The originality of this project lies in the treatment of the principal by-products by combining chemo-enzymatic and biotechnological pathways which can thus obtain bioactive molecules with antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. These molecules could then be used in a variety of fields such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, the agrifood industry or biocontrol, etc.

The ecodesign of optimised bioprocesses – the CoMECo project: 24 months

If the bioeconomy is to become an industrial reality, it is necessary to develop bioprocesses capable of ensuring intensive production, and notably biosourced molecules. The use of modelling tools in process engineering enables the inexpensive testing of different scenarios for the development of environmentally-friendly intensified processes.

The model developed by CoMECo will include the entire manufacturing chain for a biotechnological process, from production (fermentation) to obtaining the molecule of interest (separation). After a data gathering phase, the project will develop dynamic modelling tools for the microbial production and separation steps. The model thus obtained will constitute a tool to optimise intensive bioprocesses in terms of their environmental sustainability by combining life cycle analysis and technology.

Development of an innovative epoxidation process – the ENZEPOX project: 12 months

Epoxides are included in the composition of numerous everyday products. For example, epoxy fatty acids are used as plasticizers in PVC, as diluents in paint, as platform molecules in anticorrosive agents or as additives in lubricants, etc. To obtain these molecules at an industrial scale, current processes involve the use of a strong acid which causes wear to equipment, requires neutralisation steps and the appropriate processing of waste. Furthermore, secondary reactions may occur, leading to weak selectivity.

ENZEPOX aims to develop a chemo-enzymatic epoxidation process that uses more selective and environmentally-friendly synthetic pathways. This new process will enable the production of epoxide derivatives from biosourced ω-unsaturated compounds that could be included in the synthesis of polymers for use in lubricants, detergents, cosmetics, etc.

Fungi – allies for the manufacture of biosourced materials – the FONGI project: 24 months

Polystyrene is a widely used disposable material and is currently not recyclable. Biosourced fungal materials offer a sustainable and biodegradable alternative, notably for packaging items. Filamentous fungi produce large quantities of proteins and chitin that can be used to "bind" biomass.

Solutions utilising the properties of these fungi already exist, but if the total replacement of polystyrene is to be envisaged, the processes must be optimised to enable large-scale production.
The aim of FONGI is to study the development of an innovative continuous process designed to improve its first steps, and notably inoculation, thus enabling the manufacture of biosourced materials.

A new production sector for monohydroxylated fatty acids – the HYAGRAM project: 24 months

12-hydroxystearic acid from castor oil displays interesting properties for the industrial synthesis of polymers. However, in the context of sustainable development and regional biorefineries, both the source and production systems must be taken into account. For these reasons, the HYAGRAM project proposes developing a new production sector for monohydroxylated fatty acids obtained from vegetable oils grown in mainland France.  

The development of new oilseed varieties, and work on characterising the oil they produce, have enabled the identification of a crop that produces fatty acids that are structurally similar to 12-hydroxystearic acid.  In the context of this project, research teams will test the hydrogenolysis of this oil using a monolith continuous reactor. These monohydroxylated fatty acids will then be included in polymers to enable a comparison versus polymers from castor oil.

A new source of renewable carbon – the SUCRES project: 18 months

Sugars, or carbohydrates, are a family of elementary molecules that are essential to living organisms and available at different scales. They are firstly an abundant natural resource used to obtain synthetic intermediates in relatively large quantities for biorefineries, and secondly as targets with high added value.

Faced with an increasing scarcity of fossil resources, plant biomass and CO2 can be used as renewable sources of carbon. SUCRE is based on the exploitation of CO2 as an alternative source of renewable carbon for the de novo production of carbohydrates.

The aim of the project is to develop an in vitro chemo-enzymatic process to transform CO2 into carbohydrates based on the Calvin cycle (all photosynthetic reactions). Using this process, it will be possible to synthesise carbohydrates that could be used for applications in a variety of fields, and notably in pharmaceuticals.

If one of these topics is of interest to you and you wish to develop collaborative research projects on the subject, please do not hesitate to contact the business manager at Carnot 3BCAR.

Business Manager, Carnot 3BCAR:
Coraline Caullet (+331 42 75 93 82)

Carnot 3BCAR

Accreditation as a Carnot Institute is awarded to public research structures to certify their scientific excellence and professionalism in their partnership relations
3BCAR offers integrated and multidisciplinary R&D mobilising biotechnologies and green chemistry, components of the bioeconomy, to enable industrial innovations in the fields of bioenergies and biosourced molecules and materials.  
To maintain its scientific advances, 3BCAR funds innovative internal projects in the form of annual calls for projects that are selected using criteria of excellence, inventiveness, economic potential and transferability. The Institute also has ISO 9001 certification regarding the implementation of good contractual and intellectual property practices with its industrial partners.
3BCAR is a network comprising 18 R&D entities ranging from laboratories to pilot plants. It assembles skills that extend from biomass production and biorefining to functional properties. 

The funding of research projects from the Carnot budget

Each year, each Carnot Institute receives a budget from the French National Research Agency that is calculated proportionally with its collaborations with industry. As well as the operational and professionalisation activities of the Institute, this budget enables the funding of research projects within the network.

Thus several in-house projects are initiated each year following an internal call for projects targeting strategic areas of competence. These upstream research projects enable the groups to remain one step ahead and to anticipate the future needs of industry. The results of these projects will offer new opportunities for innovation and may feed the R&D of companies through technology transfer.